Joamie students learn from Iqaluit elders

Grade 4 and 5 students from Iqaluit’s Joamie School are nterviewing elders about traditional ways.



IQALUIT — Just a day before Igloolik elders were honoured for their work in preserving traditional knowledge, Grade 4 and 5 students at Iqaluit’s Joamie school embarked on a traditional knowledge project of their own.

“Each student selected an area — maybe weapons or tools or shelter — they wanted to ask an elder about and now they are interviewing the elders,” said Elizabeth Tumblin, a Grade 4 and 5 teacher at Joamie school, as her students demonstrated the square dancing and throat singing they had learned in class.

The students are doing a project on Inuit history, Tumblin explained, and will be sharing the things they learn with students in Hay River via a computerized database on the Internet.

“This is the first full year we’ve been able to use the knowledge forum database,” said Tumblin adding that the work of this years students could be built upon by students in future years.

The children scurried about the Iqaluit Elders’ Centre writing down answers to questions such as “What did they eat? How did they train their dogs? How did they make harpoons?”

One student, Sapatie Stokes, asked her grandfather Akaka Sataa and other elders how Inuit family groups would meet each other and what they would do when they met.

“They met each other by dog team and by boat, and they would see each other like when they were cruising around,” said Stokes. She said that her grandfather told her that when the families met, the men and boys would go hunting and the women would get together to sew.

“When they were together there would be lots of little kids and they would play games together,” said Sapatie, relating what elder Mata Kilabuk had told her.

“She also said the boys would be really strong and be good hunters.”

Tumblin said the exercise in oral history was good for the children becaus it linked the generations.

“Not everything is found in a textbook,” said Tumblin.

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